When the HBO series Girls first hit our TV screens two years ago, it instantly found an audience for its brutally realistic and bold take on life after graduation. The show gives you a glimpse into the life of four friends struggling with romance, career and survival in New York City. There is Hannah, a struggling, overweight writer waiting for her big break; Marnie, her insecure best friend, who ends up hurting more people than she helps; Jessa, a free spirit who seeks solace in reckless relationships and substance abuse and Shoshanna, the eager-to-please fourth wheel in the equation.
A lot of loose ends that were neatly tied up in the last season —Hannah and struggling actor Adam’s fling maturing into a relationship and Marnie and her former beau Charlie getting back together in the show’s current run. The season kicks off with Hannah and Adam’s newly found comfort zone being impinged on by the arrival of Adam’s sister. The situation is aggravated as Hannah struggles with the death of her boss and the resulting cancellation of the publishing deal for her book. While Hannah’s self-centeredness makes her one of the least likeable characters this season, it is the very same quality that also allows the viewer to relate to her the most.
On the other hand, Marnie’s life this season is the opposite of what she imagined it to be. She lives in a one-bedroom apartment with poor job prospects and her personal life does not show much promise either. Not much rationale is given for her actions, especially her relationship with Ray, a generally harmless person who is also Shoshanna’s former flame. Their ‘arrangement’ is amusing at first, but ends up becoming painfully monotonous. Moreover, the pairing seems forced, as if there was no other cast member she could have been lumped with.
Jessa doesn’t do much this season other than coming in and out of rehab and floating around temporary jobs. There is also a constant reminder of how her lifestyle is wrecking her closest relationships yet she does nothing to save them. Shoshanna on the other hand treads a slippery slope and gives in to her neurotic tendencies. She is seen snapping at everyone while juggling university life and her casual interactions with the opposite sex are uncomfortable to watch.
Even though the first two seasons of Girls have been labelled a variety of things, from being revolutionary to downright vulgar, the show has never been guilty of being forgettable. Unfortunately, it loses that edge in the current season. The third season lacks fluidity and the character development seems a bit skewed for the average viewer to take in. The thinly spread plot and introduction of many new unlikable characters further diminishes the show’s overall charm. Even though, the writers did bring back Elijah, Hannah’s ex, to redeem the show, his overblown acting defeats the purpose. The likable characters too are underappreciated and not given due credit with Hannah’s co-worker being a case in point. Hopefully, creator Lena Dunham has a few tricks up her sleeve to revitalise the show in the upcoming season.
Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, April 13th, 2014.